How often do we say YES, although we really want to say NO? And why do we actually do what we don’t really want to? Is it because we want to have peace, we do not want to be annoyed, or we do not have the strength for endless discussions? Because we don’t want to pick a quarrel? Because we are scared of upsetting or losing others?
Even now women are often educated to be inactive and quiet. Therefore, it is no surprise that they do not always say what they are thinking or feeling. But often there is real fear, helplessness or powerlessness at the root of this passivity.
DO YOU KNOW THIS FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE?
_ Do others assume that you will always give in during discussions?
_ Do others still make demands on you, no matter how much you have already given or done for them?
_ Do people close to you threaten to make life difficult for you, if you do not do what they want you to do?
_ Do others ignore or neglect your feelings or needs?
_ Are you often made promises that are eventually not kept?
_ Does anyone threaten to leave you if you do not satisfy their wishes?
_ Do others call you egotistic, cold, envious, greedy or bad, if you do not react to their demands?
_ Does anybody threaten suicide, if you do not satisfy their wishes?
We will probably not immediately notice when the borders to emotional manipulation have been crossed. It is often close people, who you love and do not want to hurt, that want to wrap you round their fingers, or even put you under pressure. Or nice neighbours, who you want to get on well with. Or parents who can no longer handle day to day life without your help and support.
THREE QUESTIONS YOU OUGHT TO ASK YOURSELF:
Before you examine your relationship with somebody carefully, you should ask yourself the following questions:
_ How much can I do for the other person or how much can I give, without being fed up with him (or actually myself), angry or sad?
_ Do I deny myself and my needs when I keep giving in?
_ In which situations am I really egotistic – and when do I just set up my borders to save my space, my power, my energy and my joy of life?
Which signs you should recognize to be able to immediately notice manipulation and border crossing by others, will be a topic in my next blog.
Additional literature on the topic: Forward, Susan; Frazier, Donna: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You